It’s very tough being the slightest bit sympathetic for Helosia (Letícia Sabatella) the protagonist in Brazilian filmmaker Jeremias Moreira Filho, and Dani Carneiro’s family drama as she refuses to take any responsibility for her unhappy life. She blames her elderly mother Ruth (Selma Egrei ) for the her unfulfilling job as a hospital doctor, her failing marriage and for her bad relationship with her own teenage daughter Priscilla (Bruna Carvalho) who prefers to stay at her grandmother’s house.
Then amidst all this gloom and despondence Helosia falls madly in love with Leda (Cláudia Missura) an artist who she met when she had been a patient at her hospital. When the affair is discovered a horrified Priscilla declares she wants nothing more to do with her mother, and the ultra-conservative Ruth chimes in with her distaste of this new relationship too.
It is only the fact that unbeknown to anyone Ruth has been diagnosed with cancer for which she has refused all treatment, encourages her to offer an olive branch to Heloise in the way of an invitation to Leda to come for dinner. By then however the disharmony about the relationship has persuaded a reluctant Leda to break it off, something else Heloise refuses to accept responsibility for and yet again blames her mother.
Heloise is so self absorbed that even though she is a doctor she has failed to spot the signs of her mother’s serious illness, and when she does eventually discover the news, it finally gives the couple the opportunity to actually start to bond. When they do, and Ruth confesses for the first time in her life that she once had an affair with a married man years ago, Heloise sees that her mother who she has resented all these years for being so ‘perfect.’ also has her flaws.
This very conflicted relationship that had been fueled by years of resentment and misunderstanding comes over as very irritating at times as the generational gap seems totally unbridgeable. Heloise’s perpetual anger with which she lets rip seeming at everyone other than Leda, is easy enough to understand even though it is tough to tolerate.
The spot on performances from the two lead actresses make this intriguing drama that much more compelling, especially as by the end, we start to feel some empathy with Heloise. Just a little.